Just like 2020, this year hasn’t been easy. With the ongoing pandemic and uncountable lockdowns Victoria experienced, 2021 has been indeed a challenging year. The year has forced most people working in the health sector to adapt to new realities. However, by looking at how much progress MHSS has made in the span of a year is amazing!

The whole team, has been successful in establishing strong partnerships with several renowned organisations working in the sexual and reproductive health sector.

A few examples of our work together include:

  • CERSH/Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC)

MHSS staff presented at the CERSH 2021 Professional Development Day/Conference on key strategies that may assist in “Engaging with refugee and migrant communities on sensitive issues – Sexual Health, BBV & STIs”. The target audience was the rural and regional sexual health workforce, inclusive of nurses, community officers, health promotion officers

MHSS also partnered with Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) and delivered two community education sessions highlighting the prevention of STIs and BBVs in Mildura.

  • SEXtember Forum 2021 – Community, COVID and Choice

This SEXtember, MHSS, in partnership with 1800 My Options, organised SEXtember forum 2021: “Community, COVID & Choice – Supporting Migrant’s Access to Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare”.

We were joined by the speakers from renowned organisations including Thorne Harbour Health1800 My OptionsMulticultural Centre for Women’s Health and Resourcing Health and Education (RhED).

The forum explored the challenges around access to sexual healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic for people from migrant backgrounds.

  • Drummond Street Services:

MHSS partnered with Drummond Street Services and delivered a series of free information sessions for multicultural LGBTIQ+ people about keeping our communities safe from COVID-19.

  • True Relationships & Reproductive Health, QLD

For Multicultural Queensland Month, MHSS joined the Culturally Responsive Health team at True Relationships and Reproductive Health and spoke about ‘Cultural Competence in Sexual Health Care’ and its importance for people from migrant and refugee backgrounds at their Learn over Lunch (LoL) series.

  • Spotlight on hepatitis B

As part of the World Hepatitis Day 2021 campaign, MHSS contributed on planning & delivery of the Spotlight series 2021 in partnership with VHBA – Victorian Hepatitis B Association.

  • Women’s Health West Human Relation program

MHSS in partnership with WHW, produced seven videos to support SEXtember activities. The videos were  

In addition to above, MHSS also sits on the advisory board of the following committees:

  • AFAO CALD sub committee

Collaboration in developing a research paper on barriers to access for CALD populations in relation to HIV and sexual health.

  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre HIV Project

A new project partnership with many organisations around HIV and treatment. Contributed to understanding of OSHC system and international students’ insurance coverage for HIV related services and pharmaceuticals.

  • St Vincent’s Viral Hepatitis Education Unit

Partnering on Hepatitis B workforce education.

  • Women’s Health West Senior Management Committee

Ongoing relationship with WHW (GenWest) to provide education sessions to students

  • Culturally Responsive Heath Advisory Group – True Qld

Facilitates strong connections between organisations who are part of the advisory group For example, Linking CCV regarding cervical screening information.

  • VHBA – Victorian Hepatitis B Association

MHSS sits on the Hepatitis B Community Project Advisory Group with Doherty Institute, LiverWELL, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne & Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society – A VHBA funded initiative-led by Doherty Institute

  • Monash Sexual Health Collective Advisory Body

MHSS sits on the advisory body to provide expert advice on the development of reliable and culturally appropriate online resources to address sexual and reproductive health tailored for international students.

By seeing that people are capable not only to adapt but to thrive on change, we are optimistic to see the current partnerships flourish immensely in 2022.

We are in the process of developing and strengthening partnerships with other organisations such as Living Positive Victoria, Cancer Council Victoria, Family Planning Victoria, Western Bulldogs, Shepparton Primary Care, RhED, and Liver Well. We expect that these partnerships will lead to joint activities and projects in 2022.

Fare-thee-well 2021!